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On the Boscawen Ammendment

1 comments | 10:15 pm | top |
ACT MP John Boscawen has introduced a bill calling for ammendments to Section 59 of the Crimes Act, ensuring that smacking (the use of reasonable force in the circumstances), will not be a criminal offence. There is conjecture that the bill has been based on Chester Borrows' proposed ammendments back in March 2007 (which were defeated).

The Borrows amendment would allow physical discipline unless:
  1. It involves conduct prohibited by an enactment creating a criminal offence...
  2. It causes or contributes materially to harm that is more than transitory and trifling; or
  3. Any weapon, tool or other implement is used; or
  4. It is inflicted by any means that is cruel, degrading or terrifying.
Samuel Dennis explains why the Chester Borrows ammendment model is not a good move for New Zealand.

"...what need is there for point [3], when you already have point [2]?

If no more than “transitory and trifling” effects are produced, what difference does it make whether a hand or a wooden spoon was used? homerstranglesbart1

In fact, it is quite possible to beat a child to death with your bare hands. You don’t need a weapon to inflict major injuries. Whether an implement is used has absolutely nothing to do with preventing child abuse, and is actually a distraction from the real issue.

It also opens up a new issue - what is an implement? Is a ring an implement if a child is smacked with an open hand but accidentally injured by a ring? What about if the parent happened to be wearing a soft glove? What about a thick leather glove?

Let’s not go there. The issue is whether harm is caused that is more than “transitory and trifling”. Forget about whether an implement is used - that is completely irrelevant and just another point of dispute."

In his usual no-mucking-around style, Samuel sheds some light on this supposedly cloudy aspect of New Zealand's approach to child discipline. Head over to his blog to read the entire article.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Andy. I just know this whole debate will be taken over once again by people pushing their own views on how people should discipline kids - which is a completely irrelevant distraction and absolutely none of the governments business.

9:41 am, March 23, 2009 

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